It is as much as the essence and the allure of Malaysia that gives yet more meaning to its tourism slogan, ‘Malaysia, truly Asia’. The diversity in cultures and traditions makes for a diverse blend of ethnic food to be wholly known as the food of Malaysia. The Food of Malaysia is the cookbook with just the title to represent this by bearing 62 delectable recipes that will give you insight on the gastronomic possibilities that this country has to offer.
" The Food of Malaysia is the cookbook with just the title to represent this by bearing 62 delectable recipes that will give you insight on the gastronomic possibilities that this country has to offer. "
The Food of Malaysia is authored by Wendy Hutton with photos by Luca Invernizzi Tettoni and consists of recipes contributed by the chefs of two Malaysian restaurants, Bon Ton Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur and Jonkers Restaurant situated in the southern state of Melaka. The book starts off with interesting text to introduce Malaysian food to the world. It’s a concise run through of Malaysia’s history, people, culture, regional differences and influences in 3 brief chapters. There’s also a useful description of the Malaysian kitchen with tips for cooking Malaysian dishes and a section on authentic Malaysian ingredients where you can learn to recognize different types of noodles used in everyday Malaysian cooking among other ingredients. This part will serve as handy to refer to when attempting the recipes of the book as to not confuse the different leaves and spices with one another.
True to its title, The Food of Malaysia does include an array of recipes from not only the three major ethnic groups of the Malays, Chinese and Indians but it also presents recipes from the Nonya (Straits Chinese), Eurasians and the people of Borneo’s Sabah and Sarawak. Recipes are divided into 7 different categories starting with Sambal, Dips and Achar and ending with desserts. Some of the highlights of the book would be the recipe for the Pie Tee or Nonya Top Hats which is an excellent bite-sized appetizer or tea time snack of vegetables in a crispy casing that resembles a top hat. The Borneo Fish Ceviche is also an interesting dish and not something you would find in most Malaysian cookbooks. It is made of fresh fish marinated in lemon juice and spiced with ginger, shallots and chilies.
The book also carries recipes for the more popular Malaysian cuisine such as Roti Canai, Satay, Penang Laksa and Black Pepper Crab. To save the best for last, the desserts are also worthy of your time although the book only boosts 4 recipes. If you have an ice machine on hand, do try out the Ice Kacang perfect for sweltering hot days with its sweet flavors and cooling effect. If you don’t have the shaved ice, try one of the desserts with the coconut milk for a rich and smooth kind of delight.
Through all the pages of the book, beautiful pictures are displayed. The arrangement, the presentation, the lighting, the setting, the angle, everything they could do to capture the food to visually stimulate your appetite has been successfully applied in these photos. Rich colors showing rich ingredients and the tantalizing dishes that you can bring to life in your home kitchen by just following the recipes they represent.
It doesn’t matter if you wear an apron or not, or even if you can’t find your pots and pans, this book is one for your serious consideration to order off the internet or to make a trip to the nearest bookstore to see if they can provide you with a copy. Use the book to cook with or use it as a conversation piece or just something to flip through to feast your eyes on some lovely pictures of Malaysia and its food. Although it’s not a comprehensive recipe collection, the recipes are adequate for those new to Malaysian cuisine and want to take one step at a time.